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Hawaii 5-0
10-13-2012, 04:01 AM
Cook: A loss that will sting in December

October 12, 2012
by Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://d4493f2df0d1b95cfc62-773cd17a86049dd672fafb96394debed.r5.cf2.rackcdn.co m/2012/285/601/suisham-misses_420.jpg

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham hangs his head after missing a potential game winning field goal against the Titans last night in Nashville.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Steelers aren't a very good football team.

Can we agree on that this morning?

It's not just their 26-23 loss Thursday night to a really bad Tennessee Titans team. It's not their 2-3 record with all three losses against AFC opponents. It's not their silly penalties, their inability to run the ball or their failure to stop their opponent in the fourth quarter.

It's all of it.

Much of the season remains, 11 games. It is too early to pronounce the Steelers dead. But at this point, they have the look of a .500 club at best, certainly not a playoff-caliber team. They are physically beaten down. But their pride hurts worse, much worse.

"We let Steelers Nation down tonight," guard Willie Colon said. "We let ourselves down. We know we can play so much better than we did."

This loss was on everyone, including coach Mike Tomlin. He gambled that kicker Shaun Suisham could make a 54-yard field goal with 54 seconds left to break a 23-23 tie. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Suisham had made a 52-yarder to give the Steelers a 23-16 lead with 8:18 left. This time, Suisham was short. The Titans took over at their 45 with 49 seconds left and turned the possession into the winning field goal at the gun, a 40-yarder by Rob Bironas.

"I take the responsibility for the miss," Tomlin said.
Good thing. He deserves blame.

But that decision wasn't what beat the Steelers. They made big mistakes in every part of the game. They got what they deserved. It just wouldn't have been right if they had won.

Sure, injuries were a factor. The Steelers defense didn't have safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker LaMarr Woodley coming in. During the game, the offense lost center Maurkice Pouncey, tackle Marcus Gilbert and running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman. The offense's injuries surely factored into its inability to run the football. It gained just 56 yards on 22 carries with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, of all people, having the longest run, a 14-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.

But good teams find a way to overcome adversity to win. It is worth saying again: Right now, the Steelers don't even remotely resemble a good team.

There is a bit of positive news, though. The Steelers don't play again until a week from Sunday night against the Bengals in Cincinnati. It's a good thing they have the extra time between games. They have so much to improve.

For the third game in a row, the Steelers defense couldn't protect a fourth-quarter lead. It got stung in Oakland, got away with it against the Philadelphia Eagles at home Sunday when Roethlisberger led a late winning drive and paid a big price Thursday night. It allowed the Titans to go 80 yards in 11 plays for the touchdown that tied the score, 23-23. Then, it couldn't protect that short field at the end.

Awful. Just awful.

"I'm sure the offense is going to say it's not on us, that it's a team game and they should have made more plays," safety Ryan Clark said. "But that's not true. They gave us enough points to win. We just didn't do what we had to do."

This defeat felt even worse than the Oakland loss. The Titans came in with a 1-4 record with each of their losses by at least 21 points. It almost appeared the Steelers tried to keep them in the game with mistakes. They succeeded.

Penalties? The Steelers were the most penalized team-per-game in the NFL coming in and cut down on the number, but cornerback Ike Taylor was called for two big ones. His 25-yard pass interference penalty on the Titans' first possession led to a Tennessee field goal. He then was called for holding on a third-and-10 play at the Steelers 15 late in the game, a penalty that led to the Titans scoring the touchdown that tied the score, 23-23, with 4:19 left. Yet another pass interference call on Taylor didn't count because wide receiver Kenny Britt caught the ball anyway for a 37-yard gain.

To top it off, Taylor was beaten for the 5-yard touchdown pass to Britt that made it 23-23. Taylor played a rotten game.

Special-team blunders? A blocked punt counts, right? The Titans blocked a kick by Drew Butler on the final play of the first quarter, leading to a 1-yard touchdown drive that gave them a 13-10 lead.

Turnovers? The Steelers were moving at the Titans 32 late in the second quarter when Roethlisberger threw an interception to cornerback Jason McCourty. It was Roethlisberger's first interception in 137 passes -- he hadn't had one since late in the Denver game in the season opener -- and it lead to a Titans field goal and 16-10 lead on the final play of the first half.

At that point, you thought it couldn't get worse for the Steelers in the second half. But it did. It got much worse.

"It's tough," Redman said. "We're still winless on the road. Good teams have to win on the road to get where they want to go."

Should I write it one more time?

No, it's not necessary.

I think you know the Steelers aren't a good team.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/ron-cook/cook-a-loss-that-will-sting-in-december-657275/#ixzz299kF895m

steelbad@50
10-13-2012, 10:22 AM
Depressing season thus far.

Fire Haley
10-13-2012, 10:23 AM
2009

deja vu all over again

maddog78
10-13-2012, 10:35 AM
"We know we can play so much better than we did"

I'm sorry, but I'm tired of hearing that. If they could play better, they would have by now.

Bayz101
10-13-2012, 10:38 AM
Such is life when half your team is on crutches. No Woodley, no Troy and offensive line injuries to boot! What did you expect? We're lucky to have kept it close, and without Ben, we would have lost by 20!

This team is a GREAT team when healthy. Unfortunately we haven't had this team 100% healthy in a long, long time.

maddog78
10-13-2012, 10:50 AM
Such is life when half your team is on crutches. No Woodley, no Troy and offensive line injuries to boot! What did you expect? We're lucky to have kept it close, and without Ben, we would have lost by 20!

This team is a GREAT team when healthy. Unfortunately we haven't had this team 100% healthy in a long, long time.

Every team has injuries. Even before the OL got nicked in this game, the play was uneven against what many thought was the worst team in football.

We've lost to two of the very worst, and another mediocre to bad team in Denver.

Spin it anyway you like, but right now, the Steelers are a bottom feeder.

btaylor179
10-13-2012, 10:57 AM
said it before the season started.....we are .500 team....we will be lucky to be .500 now

Twentyvalve
10-13-2012, 12:23 PM
I agree with all of that.

To me, it is the perfect storm for a poor season. Injuries, the change in offensive philosophies across the league, the rule changes, the inability to run the ball, poor clock management/coaching, penalties, unlucky bounces of the ball, general malaise and apathy, and the absolute refusal of the defense to adjust. Most teams only have one or two of those issues, and they can address them or at least deal with them. We are absolutely plagued with them.

I never said a word about the coaching up to this point. I am starting to question the coaching staff, especially the defense. We absolutely do nothing to stop the other team. We run the same schemes time after time, not matter what the situation. We give yards away like candy.

I watch other division teams, the Ravens for instance, and they are pumped, move the ball, and just seem motivated. They seem to make their own luck. Without Ben and Heath, this is a 6- 10 team. It seems we wait for the other team to make less mistakes than us to win the game. The philosophy seems to be to let the opposition set the tone while we sit back and just wait for them to score or screw up. It is maddening.

FanSince72
10-13-2012, 12:58 PM
Such is life when half your team is on crutches. No Woodley, no Troy and offensive line injuries to boot! What did you expect? We're lucky to have kept it close, and without Ben, we would have lost by 20!

This team is a GREAT team when healthy. Unfortunately we haven't had this team 100% healthy in a long, long time.

Health is only part of the problem.

The word I would use to describe this team - especially the defense - would be: "Stale".

Honestly, can anyone point to anything that looks "new and different"?
The offense seems to want to go in a new-ish direction and maybe that's just a matter of time before everyone "gets" whatever Haley is trying to do, so I'll let that part sit for now because I know that sort of thing takes time.

My biggest problem is the defense.

Game after game and for longer than just this season, all I've seen is what could best be described as a "pre-season" defense; a vanilla setup that doesn't seem to offer anything more than what may have worked well a couple of seasons ago but has since become old news. There's no "pop" in this defense anymore, no dynamic movement. It seems to be set up to actually allow passes to be completed or runs to gain yardage - just not so much as to score on a single play. It's as if the entire scheme is some sort of "prevent" package designed not to stop teams but merely to slow them down.

Lot's of people will point to age or injuries as the reason for the poor play of the defense but watching receivers being wide open ten yards down the field has nothing to do with aching joints but is more about coaching and that's why I believe that LeBeau is the primary reason for our defense's lack of production.
I think LeBeau has reached a point where it's time to hang up the cleats and call it a career because he just doesn't seem to have "It" anymore.

Years ago, watching a Dick LeBeau defense was like watching a complicated machine in action - lots of moving parts and all sorts of activity, but nowadays it's more like watching maple syrup drip off a teaspoon.
The defense is predictable and soft and nothing at all like what it once was and though there are some aging players, age can't be the whole story.
I think it's basically about a man having spent his entire adult life playing or coaching football and having drawn up tens of thousands of plays simply running out of ideas and perhaps not having the desire to put in the 110% effort required to put a truly effective unit on the field week after week.

I respect the hell out of Dick LeBeau and I'll be the first in line to thank him for the truly wonderful years of football he's brought to us Steeler fans. But everyone gets old and everyone loses a step and I think that's where he is now and I think that if he truly wants to help this team he should consider stepping aside and allow someone else to begin a new era.

maddog78
10-13-2012, 01:05 PM
Health is only part of the problem.

The word I would use to describe this team - especially the defense - would be: "Stale".

Honestly, can anyone point to anything that looks "new and different"?
The offense seems to want to go in a new-ish direction and maybe that's just a matter of time before everyone "gets" whatever Haley is trying to do, so I'll let that part sit for now because I know that sort of thing takes time.

My biggest problem is the defense.

Game after game and for longer than just this season, all I've seen is what could best be described as a "pre-season" defense; a vanilla setup that doesn't seem to offer anything more than what may have worked well a couple of seasons ago but has since become old news. There's no "pop" in this defense anymore, no dynamic movement. It seems to be set up to actually allow passes to be completed or runs to gain yardage - just not so much as to score on a single play. It's as if the entire scheme is some sort of "prevent" package designed not to stop teams but merely to slow them down.

Lot's of people will point to age or injuries as the reason for the poor play of the defense but watching receivers being wide open ten yards down the field has nothing to do with aching joints but is more about coaching and that's why I believe that LeBeau is the primary reason for our defense's lack of production.
I think LeBeau has reached a point where it's time to hang up the cleats and call it a career because he just doesn't seem to have "It" anymore.

Years ago, watching a Dick LeBeau defense was like watching a complicated machine in action - lots of moving parts and all sorts of activity, but nowadays it's more like watching maple syrup drip off a teaspoon.
The defense is predictable and soft and nothing at all like what it once was and though there are some aging players, age can't be the whole story.
I think it's basically about a man having spent his entire adult life playing or coaching football simply running out of ideas and perhaps not having the desire to put in the 110% effort required to put a truly effective unit on the field week after week.

I respect the hell out of Dick LeBeau and I'll be the first in line to thank him for the truly wonderful years of football he's brought to us Steeler fans. But everyone gets old and everyone loses a step and I think that's where he is now and I think that if he truly wants to help this team he should consider stepping aside and allow someone else to begin a new era.

LeBeau's defense was great when he had several stars making plays. When Harrison and Woodley are collapsing the pocket, stabilized by Smith, Hampton, Keisel at the LOS, and backed by Polamalu, there wasn't much scheme to it. These guys won their matchups.

Now we have guys who can't win these matchups and a DC incapable of putting them in better positions to succeed. We play the same system with lesser talent and expect the same result.

tanda10506
10-13-2012, 02:43 PM
2009

deja vu all over again

Even worse. At least in 2009 the majority of our players were still capable of performing at a high level. IMO the 2009 issue was simply playing down to every single scrub team they played. I never watched a game in 2009 expecting them to lose because they were a capable team. Now we just suck, we don't play down to teams cause we are already at or below their level. Nobody on this defense beats the guy in front of them anymore and Ryan Clark is the only consistant defender and the only one who plays with heart still. After the Raiders loss I knew that was it and have kind of been expecting losses, the team is just not capable. What's ridiculous is that we have loads of talent on offense and for some reason they have just decided to let their play drop off. The WR's have done poorly the last 2 games at not only getting open, but hanging on to the ball, and the running game is bad enough to make a true Steeler fan sick to his stomach. I expexct the offense to pick it back up, but I don't expext that to get us many W's. After all 2009 was a career high year for Ben yet a low point for the team, and that was with many of our defensive players still at or around the top of their game.

Fire Arians
10-13-2012, 02:52 PM
Such is life when half your team is on crutches. No Woodley, no Troy and offensive line injuries to boot! What did you expect? We're lucky to have kept it close, and without Ben, we would have lost by 20!

This team is a GREAT team when healthy. Unfortunately we haven't had this team 100% healthy in a long, long time.

green bay beat us with half the team on IR. there's something wrong with this team atm, going further than the injuries.

as banged up as this team is, i don't expect them to go and beat the top teams but I would at least expect them to beat the bottom feeders.

i forget what year it was, but we had the #1 seed locked and went to buffalo to play the bills, who were fighting for a playoff spot, if they won they were in. we rested our starters and still blew their asses out

Hawaii 5-0
10-13-2012, 03:05 PM
No way to spin 2-3 start

FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2012 WRITTEN BY DAN GIGLER

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/images/stories/Dan_Gigler/tomlin_ben_frown.jpg

Those faces pretty much sum up the state of the Steelers at the moment.

It's an election year, so go ahead -- act like a politco and try and spin this loss.

Sure, you can say that the offense was generally more than competent enough to win.

And hey, the Steelers were without LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu, then lost Rashard Mendenhall (again), Isaac Redman, Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert.

A blocked punt? That's flukey.

And Ike Taylor -- a pretty darn good cornerback by anyone's standards -- may have had the single worst regular season game of his professional career.

Even Mike Tomlin, the normally unflappable head coach whiffed too. He probably should've had his team punt at the end instead of having his kicker attempt a career-long field goal and miss, which in turn gave the Titans a short field with a chance to win.

None of that matters.

Because for the third time this season, the Steelers simply could not make a stop when they absolutely needed to. And for the second time, they blew a fourth quarter lead of a touchdown or more to gift-wrap a victory to an "allegedly inferior" opponent.

There's no way to spin 2-3. And there's a mighty ominous thunderhead appearing on the horizon for the remainder of the 2012 season with a pair of dates with upstart Cincinnati and AFC North standard bearer Baltimore still to come.

No Mike Tomlin-coached Steelers team has started 2-3. Dating back to the beginning of the Cowher regime, only five Steelers teams have started 2-3. Those were in 2006, 2003, 2002, 2000 and 1999.

Only one of those teams made the postseason: the 2002 squad which lost in the divisional playoffs -- to Tennessee on the road by a field goal, no less. And that was during a year in which Tommy Maddox came out of nowhere to give Pittsburgh a surprise jump-start.

The others: 8-8, 6-10, 9-7 and 6-10.

Consider also that since 2001, the Steelers have made the playoff in consecutive years, then missed -- 2001 & 2002, playoffs; 2003 miss; 2004 & 2005, playoffs; 2006 miss; 2007 & 2008, playoffs; 2009 miss; 2010 & 2001, playoffs; 2012 ...

It's still too early to bet on a Pittsburgh-free postseason. But if the Steelers are unable to suddenly reinvent themselves by their Oct. 21 date at Cincinnati, history suggests it's might be a lock.

But hey, they still get to play Cleveland twice. (Now that's some spin for you.)

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/blog-n-gold/35716-spinning-2-3

WVABE
10-13-2012, 03:20 PM
green bay beat us with half the team on IR. there's something wrong with this team atm, going further than the injuries.

as banged up as this team is, i don't expect them to go and beat the top teams but I would at least expect them to beat the bottom feeders.

i forget what year it was, but we had the #1 seed locked and went to buffalo to play the bills, who were fighting for a playoff spot, if they won they were in. we rested our starters and still blew their asses outI remember that Bills game, one of their players after the game was crying and said " we can't even beat their 3rd team".
Those were the days. :tt04:

maddog78
10-13-2012, 03:55 PM
i forget what year it was, but we had the #1 seed locked and went to buffalo to play the bills, who were fighting for a playoff spot, if they won they were in. we rested our starters and still blew their asses out

2004 season finale. Great recall - that team was loaded.

This one, not so much.

Edman
10-14-2012, 07:22 AM
This team doesn't win more than 8.

This season exposed that the great Dick Lebeau Defenses we had were never that great. If they were really that good, they wouldn't fall apart as soon as ONE player goes down. One player so good it really covered the warts of the scheme, and to date this our "genius" coach still has no answer for it.

The Talent is there, but it's being misused or simply rotting on the bench for decaying ineffective veterans and schemes.

TRH
10-14-2012, 09:34 AM
No way to spin 2-3 start

FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2012 WRITTEN BY DAN GIGLER

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/images/stories/Dan_Gigler/tomlin_ben_frown.jpg



But hey, they still get to play Cleveland twice. (Now that's some spin for you.)

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/blog-n-gold/35716-spinning-2-3


uh, yeah. So what? I wouldn't be surprised to see Cleveland kick our teeth in both games.
Of course i don't want that to happen...but i've seen their games this year...they play with much more intensity than we do, and they potentially have both a very good running game...and passing game. Weedens been throwing for well over 300 a game. Not good news for us.

rjmkelly
10-15-2012, 05:37 PM
Defensively, their players are just not as good as they have been.

Hood can't hold Aaron Smith's jock,
Hampton is a mere shadow of what he once was,
Keisel's older and slower,
as is James Harrison,
Troy can't stay healthy and lets face it, he's not what he once was.
Larry Foote wouldn't start for 3/4 of the teams in the NFL.
and Ike Taylor is having a horrible year.

Defense has always carried the Steelers. When their defense is mediocre, so is the teaam.

No, I'm not giving up and I support these guys, reality is though, The" Steelers just aren't a very good football team"

teegre
10-15-2012, 07:00 PM
I remember that Bills game, one of their players after the game was crying and said " we can't even beat their 3rd team".
Those were the days. :tt04:

I remember that game vivdly.

http://football.about.com/od/teamssteelers/a/010605.htm

The Bills were crushed (physically and emotionally). The could ahev made the play-offs... but, the secodn (& third string) wolloped them good!!!

truesteelerfan
10-16-2012, 03:55 PM
I do blame a lot of this on our injuries - and I agree with another post on here our training department needs to be looked at. However due to the injuries, another problem shows up - we are a veteran/superstar filled team. By paying big contracts to our starts/starters - we have less to pay our back-ups. It is now those backups we are relying on to fill in for our starters - and they simply don't have the natural talent to compete at this level. I don't have a solution - I don't want to NOT sign people like Troy, Pouncey, etc - just wish our training staff kept them on the field more.

Hawaii 5-0
10-17-2012, 02:05 PM
Cook: Tomlin not to blame for lack of discipline

October 16, 2012
Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://d4493f2df0d1b95cfc62-773cd17a86049dd672fafb96394debed.r5.cf2.rackcdn.co m/2012/289/642/coach-tomlin_420.jpg

One of the great misconceptions in Pittsburgh sports history is that former Steelers coach Bill Cowher ruled with an iron fist. Nothing could be further from the truth. A case could be made that Cowher was a soft touch with his players. Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis made just such a case when he talked about wide receiver Plaxico Burress leaving the team to go play for the New York Giants and their very real tough-guy coach, Tom Coughlin.

"I know [Burress] is not a stickler for the rules and Coughlin is all about rules ... Coach Cowher allowed us a lot of flexibility. He never fined us for anything. You came late, you never got fined. You never got reprimanded for anything."

This is relevant this morning because Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has come under fire for not being tough enough with his players. The team is a disappointing 2-3. Penalties are up. One player became a tweeting fool last week, taking on at least some members of the most supportive fan base in sports. Another player was arrested early Sunday morning after going on a South Side rampage that, if the charges hold up in court, should lead to serious prison time.

If I had a dime for every complaint I've heard about Tomlin this week, I'd be a wealthy man.

"The Steelers are undisciplined."

"Tomlin is an undisciplined coach."

"Tomlin cares more about being the players' friend than their boss."

And my favorite:

"This kind of stuff didn't happen under Cowher and Chuck Noll."

Nonsense.

This kind of stuff happened under Cowher and even the great Hall of Famer Noll. Remember the 1973 incident involving former Steelers defensive tackle Ernie Holmes? He fired shots at a police helicopter that was pursuing him in a chase on the Ohio Turnpike. Was that Noll's fault? Was he an undisciplined coach?

If Tomlin has made a mistake, it's that he has treated his players as men. Cowher and Noll did the same thing. Unfortunately, the players occasionally act like juveniles or -- worse -- criminals.

It's tougher to coach today than it was during Cowher's time or especially Noll's time. Character isn't as prized a quality as it used to be. Too often, talent trumps all. Good players get second chances after abhorrent behavior. Great players get third, fourth and even fifth chances.

You hear a lot about the Steelers Way, but it's no different than most teams. The organization stands behind its good players when they screw up. They kept quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he was accused twice, though never charged, of sexual assault. They gave linebacker James Harrison a six-year, $51.175 million contract after he was involved in a domestic abuse incident. They made kicker Jeff Reed their franchise player and agreed to pay him $2.814 million after he twice was involved with police in alcohol-related incidents.

But heaven help the marginal player who gets in trouble. The Steelers were quick to release wide receiver Cedrick Wilson after a domestic incident at roughly the same time as Harrison's. It easy to take a moral stand with a guy who can't help you win.

There's no question the Steelers will stick with serial Twitter violator Rashard Mendenhall. He's a good player. Mendenhall, who issued offensive tweets in May 2011 showing sympathy for the death of Osama bin Laden, was back on Twitter after the team's loss Thursday night to the Tennessee Titans. He took on critical fans, saying that real fans are supportive of the team. It's never smart for an athlete to get into a hissing contest with the team's customers. He can't win.

But what Mendenhall did was nothing compared to the headaches caused by rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu Sunday morning. Ta'amu was arrested after allegedly fleeing police while driving drunk, nearly running down three police officers and hitting a number of parking cars, injuring a woman in one. Ta'amu, who didn't dress for any of the five games, might not be good enough to get out of that mess.

I don't blame Tomlin for Ta'amu being a jerk, just as I don't blame Noll for the Holmes incident. Sadly, these things happen to all coaches. Even tough-guy Coughlin had problems with Burress, who was playing for the Giants when he walked into a Manhattan club in November 2008 with an unlicensed handgun and shot himself in the leg.

Maybe Tomlin could do more to correct the Steelers' penalty problem, but I'm not sure what. I know he preaches all the time about penalties. The thing is, the players don't always get the message. After a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006, Cowher, angry about his team taking dumb penalties, including an excessive celebration call against running backs Willie Parker and Verron Haynes and a taunting call on safety Mike Logan, said, "That will not happen again. That's on me. Trust me, that will not happen again." In the next game against the Atlanta Falcons, wide receivers Nate Washington, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes were penalized for excessive celebration. In the game after that against the Oakland Raiders, linebackers Joey Porter and Larry Foote and safety Anthony Smith were penalized for personal fouls.

"I guess never say never," Cowher said.

If you want to blame Tomlin for something, blame him and general manager Kevin Colbert for not drafting better defensive players of late.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward was a No. 1 pick in 2011 but can't get on the field. Linebacker Jason Worilds was a No. 2 pick in'10 but largely has been a disappointment. Defensive end Ziggy Hood was a No. 1 pick in '09 but hasn't made much of an impact since the '10 season.

Blame Tomlin all you want for that 2-3 record. He's a fair target. But know this: He is not an undisciplined coach.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz29Z6l8Zqv

steelfan23
10-17-2012, 04:24 PM
Cook: Tomlin not to blame for lack of discipline

October 16, 2012
Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://d4493f2df0d1b95cfc62-773cd17a86049dd672fafb96394debed.r5.cf2.rackcdn.co m/2012/289/642/coach-tomlin_420.jpg

One of the great misconceptions in Pittsburgh sports history is that former Steelers coach Bill Cowher ruled with an iron fist. Nothing could be further from the truth. A case could be made that Cowher was a soft touch with his players. Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis made just such a case when he talked about wide receiver Plaxico Burress leaving the team to go play for the New York Giants and their very real tough-guy coach, Tom Coughlin.

"I know [Burress] is not a stickler for the rules and Coughlin is all about rules ... Coach Cowher allowed us a lot of flexibility. He never fined us for anything. You came late, you never got fined. You never got reprimanded for anything."

This is relevant this morning because Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has come under fire for not being tough enough with his players. The team is a disappointing 2-3. Penalties are up. One player became a tweeting fool last week, taking on at least some members of the most supportive fan base in sports. Another player was arrested early Sunday morning after going on a South Side rampage that, if the charges hold up in court, should lead to serious prison time.

If I had a dime for every complaint I've heard about Tomlin this week, I'd be a wealthy man.

"The Steelers are undisciplined."

"Tomlin is an undisciplined coach."

"Tomlin cares more about being the players' friend than their boss."

And my favorite:

"This kind of stuff didn't happen under Cowher and Chuck Noll."

Nonsense.

This kind of stuff happened under Cowher and even the great Hall of Famer Noll. Remember the 1973 incident involving former Steelers defensive tackle Ernie Holmes? He fired shots at a police helicopter that was pursuing him in a chase on the Ohio Turnpike. Was that Noll's fault? Was he an undisciplined coach?

If Tomlin has made a mistake, it's that he has treated his players as men. Cowher and Noll did the same thing. Unfortunately, the players occasionally act like juveniles or -- worse -- criminals.

It's tougher to coach today than it was during Cowher's time or especially Noll's time. Character isn't as prized a quality as it used to be. Too often, talent trumps all. Good players get second chances after abhorrent behavior. Great players get third, fourth and even fifth chances.

You hear a lot about the Steelers Way, but it's no different than most teams. The organization stands behind its good players when they screw up. They kept quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he was accused twice, though never charged, of sexual assault. They gave linebacker James Harrison a six-year, $51.175 million contract after he was involved in a domestic abuse incident. They made kicker Jeff Reed their franchise player and agreed to pay him $2.814 million after he twice was involved with police in alcohol-related incidents.

But heaven help the marginal player who gets in trouble. The Steelers were quick to release wide receiver Cedrick Wilson after a domestic incident at roughly the same time as Harrison's. It easy to take a moral stand with a guy who can't help you win.

There's no question the Steelers will stick with serial Twitter violator Rashard Mendenhall. He's a good player. Mendenhall, who issued offensive tweets in May 2011 showing sympathy for the death of Osama bin Laden, was back on Twitter after the team's loss Thursday night to the Tennessee Titans. He took on critical fans, saying that real fans are supportive of the team. It's never smart for an athlete to get into a hissing contest with the team's customers. He can't win.

But what Mendenhall did was nothing compared to the headaches caused by rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu Sunday morning. Ta'amu was arrested after allegedly fleeing police while driving drunk, nearly running down three police officers and hitting a number of parking cars, injuring a woman in one. Ta'amu, who didn't dress for any of the five games, might not be good enough to get out of that mess.

I don't blame Tomlin for Ta'amu being a jerk, just as I don't blame Noll for the Holmes incident. Sadly, these things happen to all coaches. Even tough-guy Coughlin had problems with Burress, who was playing for the Giants when he walked into a Manhattan club in November 2008 with an unlicensed handgun and shot himself in the leg.

Maybe Tomlin could do more to correct the Steelers' penalty problem, but I'm not sure what. I know he preaches all the time about penalties. The thing is, the players don't always get the message. After a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006, Cowher, angry about his team taking dumb penalties, including an excessive celebration call against running backs Willie Parker and Verron Haynes and a taunting call on safety Mike Logan, said, "That will not happen again. That's on me. Trust me, that will not happen again." In the next game against the Atlanta Falcons, wide receivers Nate Washington, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes were penalized for excessive celebration. In the game after that against the Oakland Raiders, linebackers Joey Porter and Larry Foote and safety Anthony Smith were penalized for personal fouls.

"I guess never say never," Cowher said.

If you want to blame Tomlin for something, blame him and general manager Kevin Colbert for not drafting better defensive players of late.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward was a No. 1 pick in 2011 but can't get on the field. Linebacker Jason Worilds was a No. 2 pick in'10 but largely has been a disappointment. Defensive end Ziggy Hood was a No. 1 pick in '09 but hasn't made much of an impact since the '10 season.

Blame Tomlin all you want for that 2-3 record. He's a fair target. But know this: He is not an undisciplined coach.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz29Z6l8Zqv

I have to disagree about the drafts. I feel these players drafted could perform but Tomlin plays the vets despite their play falling off last two years. Also, about those players. They were all back of the round 1st rounders so it's not like we are talking top half of the draft type players anyway. They were projects and have either not been coached up or aren't any good. But how can you tell if they can play...if they don't play? That is on Tomlin.

Hawaii 5-0
10-17-2012, 06:56 PM
I have to disagree about the drafts. I feel these players drafted could perform but Tomlin plays the vets despite their play falling off last two years. Also, about those players. They were all back of the round 1st rounders so it's not like we are talking top half of the draft type players anyway. They were projects and have either not been coached up or aren't any good. But how can you tell if they can play...if they don't play? That is on Tomlin.

you don't think it's on LeBeau as well? Ziggy, Worilds and Heyward are all defenders...